17 November 2020 by James Langley

Cornish waste company fined £200,000 for manslaughter

A Cornish commercial waste company has been fined £200,000 for corporate manslaughter after the death of an employee at its Redruth plant in 2017, Devon and Cornwall Police have said.

Dale McClelland, 23, became trapped within a baling machine he was operating for H&A Recycling Ltd at the Cardrew Industrial Estate in Redruth on 16 November 2017 (see letsrecycle.com story). He died at the scene.

A screenshot from a video showing inside H&A Recycling’s Redruth plant (source: Devon and Cornwall Police)

Charges were brought against H&A Recycling following a three-year investigation into Mr McClelland’s death by Devon and Cornwall Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and extensive liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

On 4 September 2020 H&A Recycling pleaded guilty at Truro Crown Court to corporate manslaughter. The company was sentenced to pay a £200,000 fine with additional costs of almost £46,000 at Plymouth Crown Court on 13 November.

Mr McClelland’s family paid tribute to a “family man with a heart of gold”. They urged all companies to ensure their standards of health and safety were the highest they could be.

The police issued a video alongside the statement showing the inside of H&A Recycling’s Redruth plant, where workers appear to be racing in vehicles around the factory floor.

Systematic failings

Detective inspector Steve Hambly, who led the investigation, said his team found a number of systematic failings relating to staff safety, training, risk assessments and supervision at the plant. Of particular concern to all agencies involved was the way in which machinery had been used, the police said, including the baling machine involved in Mr McClelland’s death.

Dale McClelland, 23, died in the incident (picture: Devon and Cornwall Police)

Footage shown in court showed members of staff playfighting and racing in vehicles around the factory floor, the police said.

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Simon Jones said: “The guarding standards that were found at the recycling plant during the investigation were some of the worst that I have seen in 20 years.

“All employers should ensure that machinery is always properly guarded and maintained and that employees receive adequate training to allow them to work safely.

“If the baler at H&A Recycling Ltd had been properly guarded and maintained, then this terrible incident would not have happened.”

H&A Recycling

Biffa acquired the customers and employees of H&A Recycling in September 2018. Biffa said the acquisition was complementary to its existing collection business.

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